Is donepezil effective for multiple sclerosis-related cognitive dysfunction? A critically appraised topic

Cumara B. O'Carroll, Bryan K. Woodruff, Dona E. Locke, Charlene R. Hoffman-Snyder, Kay E. Wellik, Greg M. Thaera, Bart M. Demaerschalk, Dean M. Wingerchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Cognitive dysfunction affects approximately half of the patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Cholinesterase inhibitor drugs are approved to treat cognitive dysfunction associated with degenerative dementia. Objective: To critically assess current evidence regarding the efficacy of the cholinesterase inhibitor, donepezil in the treatment of MS-associated cognitive impairment. Methods: The objective was addressed through the development of a structured critically appraised topic. This included a clinical scenario, structured question, literature search strategy, critical appraisal, results, evidence summary, commentary, and bottom line conclusions. Participants included consultant and resident neurologists, a medical librarian, clinical epidemiologists, and content experts in the fields of behavioral neurology and MS. RESULTS:: A randomized control trial was selected for critical appraisal. This trial randomized MS patients to receive donepezil 10 mg daily or placebo for treatment of MS-related cognitive dysfunction. There was no significant treatment effect found between the 2 groups on either the primary outcome of memory or any of the secondary cognitive measures. Post hoc analyses suggested a trend favoring donepezil in subjects with greater baseline cognitive dysfunction. Conclusions: Donepezil 10 mg daily for 24 weeks is not superior to placebo in improving MS-related cognitive dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-54
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • cholinesterase inhibitors
  • critically appraised topic
  • evidence-based medicine
  • memory disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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